tjmanotoc.ph
Tech, Sports, and Health. All that keeps TJ busy

Apr
12

Testing using the wordpress app. One two three. It’s been awhile. And I’m coming back…

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Sep
25

*** ALL GAMES TO BE TELEVISED LIVE ON STUDIO 23 AND BALLS HD 166

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Saturday, Sept 26, 2009

San Juan Arena

2pm FEU vs AdU Women’s Finals Gm 1

4pm DLSU vs ADMU Finals Gm 1

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Sunday, Sept 27, 2009

Araneta Coliseum

Men’s Finals Gm 1

3:30pm ADMU vs UE

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Tuesday, Sept 29, 2009

San Juan Arena

2pm Women’s Finals Gm 2

4pm Junior’s Finals Gm 2

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Thursday, Oct 1, 2009

Araneta Colisuem

UAAP Awards

3:30pm Men’s Finals Gm 2

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Saturday, Oct 3, 2009

San Juan Arena

Women and Junior’s Finals Gm 3 if necessary

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Sunday, Oct 4, 2009

Araneta Colisuem

Men’s Finals Gm 3 if necessary

Sep
21

As Manny Pacquiao walked in the gym in Baguio today, he was all smiles. A jolly and good mood Pacquiao is always a good sign of a good workout. But more than that, its also a sign of Manny the Joker was in the house.

As we started to casually chat about the Mayweather – Marquez fight, he was quick to acknowledge the speed and skill that Floyd Jr still had. But as quick as Manny pivot out of trouble did his words get into the offensive too. He blamed Marquez for the whole thing. Not about it being a mistake to go up in weight and challenge the former pound for pound king, but for being stubborn.

Manny has a point, he has fought Marquez twice, once for a controversial draw, and the other for a very close split decision. He knows him damn well. And from what he say vs. Mayweather he said the guy is just too stubborn to change his strategy. It can be the same “I’ll wait for, come in and I’ll counter punch my way against” you Manny said. Since both fighters, he added, were counter punchers, and given Floyd was longer and stronger, you’ll have to engage a bit more and get your licks in there.

The sarcasm was all over the place for Team Pacquiao as they continued to joke about Marquez. So much so that they joked the rumor of a rematch is spreading, and that Marquez had learned his lesson and would change his fight plan, he wouldn’t just drink his own pee, but he’d even eat his own, you know what.

Cocky remarks from the usually humble and mild mannered Manny. I guess you could say it was a move straight out of the playbook of Floyd Mayweather, or maybe being one with times of blunt straight forward candidness like Kanye, Serena, and Roger. But if you look back at the friction between Marquez and Pacquiao, Juan Manuel was asking for it and he started it.

Remember is has been JMM who has been barking around and running around the world almost just to get his 3rd and final shot at Pacquiao. He has tried it all, the nice approach, the I’ll come to your country and call you out, and even the “you must be afraid of me approach”. Many got fed up last year and said stop crying. So he’s been sticking his neck out and just waiting for a Manny left hook and get smacked. And so now with him “starting it” and declaring to the world he drinks his own pee to make him stronger, Manny saw the opening and took a swipe. He’s advising Juan Manuel to go ahead and try to eat his own poop too.

It’s a back and forth that the media has enjoyed and will continue to fan. But the question remains, is Juan Manuel Marquez still the man who can really give Pacquiao the hardest challenge of his life? They are of the same size and natural built. No “meeting me halfway” for a bigman and Mannny the little man. This is a matchup that personifies the “pick on someone your own size” theory.

Personally I like it. It will truly prove to Manny and his few critics left that can beat Marquez. It may just happen to wrap up his career if you ask me.

Here’s my hunch, and I’m calling it now as I just may end up looking like a frackin genius. After Manny disposes of Cotto in November, he will file for candidacy, he will campaign for Congressman in Saranggani and run unopposed. During this whole campaign thing, in March he will face Floyd Mayweather Jr. He will take him to a long bout, and probably deck the cocky pretty boy in the 10th-12th round…

Then he can finally give that little guy the shot. Take on Juan Manuel Marquez to wrap up his career in July just as he has been sworn in as a “distinguished gentleman”. But what would make it much more sweeter for the two if that meeting happens? No not the money, not a belt, not a catch-weight with penalties. But a classic side-bet of who losses, you eat your… well you now what. That will be one for the books.

Sep
20

Got this tweet from @donbonscoforum as he Re-Tweeted the release from @hoopstalk918 which i know is a radio sports talk show on Sports Radio 918am. I’ll take it as it is as I have worked with DZSR before and they are a highly credible organization.

So here is Marc Barroca’s Official Statement verbatim -

AKO PO AY LUBOS NA NALULUNKOT SAPAGKAT HINDI NA AKO MAKAKAPAGLARO SA FEU AT SA UAAP, GANOON PA MAN, NIRERESPETO KO PA ANG DESISYON NG FEU PARA SA SABI PO NILANG KAPAKANAN NG TEAM AT NG UNIBERSIDAD. NAIS KO LANG PO NA MALAMAN NG LAHAT NA MALINIS ANG KONSYENSA KO AT WALA PO AKONG ALAM NA MALING GINAWA ETO PO ANG AKING MENSAHE

1. SA AKING MAHAL NA CAOCH AT MINAMAHAL NA TEAMATES, KUNG DI KO NAABOT ANG ANG INAASHAN NINYO SA AKIN

2. KAY SIR ANTON AT SA FEU, BIGYAN NYO PO AKO NG PAGKAKATAON TAPUSIN ANG AKING PAG-AARAL SA FEU BILANG SKOLAR, DAHIL ITO PO ANG AKING BANAL NA PANGAKO SA AKIN INA NUNG AKO PO AY LUMISAN SA ZAMOBANGA PARA MAKIPAGSAPALARAN SA MAYNILA.

3. SA SBP, BIGYAN NYO PO DIN AKO NG PAGKAKATAON NA MAGLARO SA SMART GILAS PILIPINAS PARA MAKAPAG-SILBI SA BAYAN. ITO LANG PO ANG AKING NINANAIS NGAYON AT SANA WAG NAMAN AKO PIGILAN NINO MAN.

4. GOODLUCK AT PRAYERS PO SA FEU SA NA IBINIGAY SA AKIN NG FEU NA MAKAPAGLARO SA UAAP, BILANG PAGTATAPOS, AKO PO AY 23 GULANG LAMAN, BUT I WILL AND MUST MOVE ON. MATATAG NAMAN ANG AKING KALOOBAN NGAYON, AT NANINIWAL AKO SA PAGSUBOK NA ITO AY MAGIGING MAS MABUTI AKONG PLAYER. HINDI PO AKO AAYAW, HINDI PO AKO TITIGIL MAG-SUMIKAP – MARC BARROCA

If you read into this, one would look at the guts of this kid to insist on finishing his studies at FEU. Would a guy who is guilty major wrongdoing have the guts and the face to still go to school and face ridicule? that up to you all to decide, to each his own interpretation with this situation.

I just want to share also this reply i got from someone who says knew Marc growing up in Zamboanga, you feel for his family now.

from clie -

hi , i am sad that one of my kababayan from zamboanga is in hot seat, i just want to share this short history how he learned basketball, Andy Barroca started as a running athlete, he is my kuyas playmate in our local barangay ,they use to laugh on how he plays kasi he is old na, when he learned playing hoops…Anyway according to my kuya it was his ability to run fast and eagerness to learn the game. Andy played in a muddy hoops area , until 12 noon.Just shooting, and learning. until he was discovered…It sad to know with all his efforts, to be in the league controversies arised.

His friends from ayala zamboanga city, his side car bicycle friends .Wearing his jersey…

This is another tale of , loss in the Uaap.

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All of you can judge all you want either way, you are all entitled to that. As for me, i still need to see solid evidence either way to give my full opinion on the matter.

For now what we know for sure is Barroca will no longer play for FEU. Period

Sep
19

As I walked out of the court still in disbelief and in awe of what I just saw, I bump into Paul Lee, Pari Llagas, and Coach Lawrence. I asked Paul, anong kinain mo? Paul just smiled. It was Coach Lawrence who answers and said “Puto Pao pare! Puto Pao from Binondo!”

Paul Lee was insane. He was on fire, in the zone, unconscious, possessed? You name it, any awesome basketball term would fit but would probably still be an understament. He only had 4 pts at the half, but he poured on 22 more in the 2nd. 14 of them in the big run in the 4th. He shot an insane 6-10 for 60% from 3 pt land

For some of you who may not be aware (i wasn’t aware of it until the start of the season) Paul was a PBL Conference MVP in the off season. He averaged 17 points in 10 games as a PBL rookie at that. So scoring is not a surprise for Lee. It has always been his consistency and decision making. In fact today, a lot of his loooong bombs were the kind that if he missed, he’d get hell from a coach. I saw A coach coz maybe Coach Lawrence wouldn’t be that kind of coach…

But how could have FEU stopped him if he shot 3s from Ali Mall and MRT Cubao with a hand in his face at that? I remember unstoppable scorers like Tony Harris in the PBA and of course MJ in the NBA. You’d see teams double team them early. Even if they’re way eyond the 3 pt line. The logic was, make him give up the ball, and challenge anybody else on the team to beat you. Yeah i know, easier said than done, specially harder in college ball than in the pros.

Now about FEU and their offense in the 4th. They only shot 33% in the 4th as opposed to 39% the whole game. Yes they looked good when Sanga was hot and they made their runs. But when Sanga went down with cramps, it showed one glaring problem – they lacked a leader, a go to guy who could create. But more than that they lacked a pass first point guard. So yes it was so obvious that they missed Barroca badly. That’s why it hurt so much to not have Barroca. Unfortunately Knuttel would’ve filled that role of pass-first point guard, but he went down with a sprained knee in the 1st quarter and never came back. I wonder if he’ll make it back for thursday.

So can lightning strike FEU twice? Can Lee and Acuña light it up again on thursday? It will be tough to duplicate that feat. But one thing is clear now, UE’s confidence and momentum is at an all time high, while FEU is searching for answers and a hero, and looking for anything to lift up their spirits and motivate them to get to the Finals. Sabi nga nila, matira matibay, it’s gonna be an all out war on thursday.

Sep
17

Stunned. That was my initial reaction when this whole hulabalu started. Primarily because I have had so much respect for FEU and their program this past 2 years. Specially after that whole shooting incident of Baracael which pretty much made the team closer. And then from the focus and determination that I have noticed from them this year, real hunger to win the title on their hosting year. Yes they may have had not so sharp games too, but seeing how they competed hard this year, you’d doubt something like this could creep in and get thru the cracks.

I first read about the situation after a friend sent me a text to check out Rick Olivares’ blog. And low behold Rick broke the news that there was a major meeting going on at FEU with regards to the allegations against Andy.

For the record, FEU has not come out with anything with regards to any investigation nor any game fixing allegations. What came out, as odd as it was, was conflicting statements from 3 different people when the Inquirer dropped by their practice. First Coach Glenn said he had no idea where Andy was, baka may pinuntahan daw, then Team Captain JR Cawaling said Andy has flu symptoms and is in quarantine at the chapel so he wont infect others, and a team staffer said that he has an unknown injury.

So with them not directly addressing the “game fixing” issue, or at least to confirm the meeting or investigation, the fact that 3 dif team members had totally different excuses, you know something not so good is going on.

As for Barroca, his manager Ed Ponceja has spoken up. Thru a gmanews.tv story (although I am confused as to who wrote this coz blogger firequinto said in his tweet it was Rey Joble’s exclusive scoop. But Joble writes for Manila Standard. Maybe he contributed to gmanews.tv coz MS is very slow and has no breaking news online) Poncejas shared Andy is very hurt with the accusation and is quitting, he will now focus on finishing his degree and playing for Smart Gilas. May lamat na daw, bakit pa daw pipilitin.

So that’s what has been said officially from both sides.

Lets look back at history on “similar” instances. As I’ve said so far FEU has yet to say anything specific re the allegations, lest even mention any form of evidence that may have urged them to “investigate”.

In a case not too long ago, a player was suspended for clearly breaking a team rule. All cellphones were to be given up, and he was caught with a  2nd one. This happened late in the season. Reason enough then to doubt him or even in a way “confirm” his dubious “off-games” so some people thought. Fine. But the team was firm, he broke a rule and broke trust, ‘nuff said.

In another case, the player was taken out early in the season. The team said he also broke a rule but was not very clear with what that rule was. Word spread quickly after that that supposedly that player was on the take and that the evidence the team had was his text messages to his teammates supposedly “recruiting” them to join his “gimik”. I even heard that team was hell bent on filing a case at the end of the season para may “masampolan” na. But the case never happened and it seemed like all that “dirt” was swept under the rug.

And now this, on the eve of the Final Four weekend, the league gets rocked with this controversy. You have one side, the team so far totally skirting the issue, even denying there was a meeting. Making up 3 different excuses for his absence to boot. Then the other side, his manager confirming the rumors that indeed he had been accused so why even still insist to play with them.

So for what ever its worth, lets let those statements of the manager, plus the report of Rick, that the meeting did take place and those accusations were made. But the question remains, who made those accusations and what compelled them to do so? Was there physical proof again? Or was it simply them being “so sure” his poor performances were intentional?

As we await Mr Montinola’s official statement, as he said in the proper time they will speak, the public is left in a guessing game as to what went down and who do we believe.

If you were Andy and say you were innocent, would you rather stay and fight to clear your name? Or would you get pissed and walk away. But what if say you were guilty and you felt the best way out was to walk away and not put up a fake fight?

I am not one to be naïve and pretend this stuff does not happened in local basketball, and mind you not a single league is sparred. I have spoken to many individuals who have deep knowledge of how it works and how its done. Very simple, very tempting, and yes your team can even still win, just play the “spread”.

So with my eyes open wide and having an open mind to all of this, I always ask what’s the proof? I will never take stats as the end all of evidence to prove that just coz a game or two of this guy that was way too bad, he has gone of the cliff already. If it’s a text message, an envelope full of cash, or a car suddenly sent to your family in the province. Whatever it is, we need evidence. And honestly, I hope and pray that one day we will see someone and the group behind them get convicted. But it will take major balls from the team or teams involved. It’s a challenge to the league as well to put their money where their mouth is and not just make motherhood press releases every start of the season that they “condemn” game fixing, sure.

For now it’s such a tough call and all we hope for, at least I do, is for the team to gather their bearings and still give it their best shot this weekend. Coz at the end of the day, they owe it to their school, their fans, and the league – that no matter who is wearing that green and yellow jersey they will give it their 100% effort. And lets hope this time around the crap, if there is any, will not be swept under the rug. If there is evidence, bring it out, file a case and lets get the wheels of justice rolling.

Sep
12

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When i first heard the news that my childhood idol would be finally inducted in the Basketball Hall of Fame, i was not surprised. What surprises me at times is how long the HOF takes to induct a well deserved athlete or coach. But none the less, nobody on this planet will ever doubt that he deserves a spot in there.

Yesterday was a busy day for me as it was my wife’s birthday and my son’s baptism. I was oblivious to all the chatter and emotions flowing around on the net and ll over the world as MJ was officially inducted he gave his acceptance speech.

As i woke up this morning seeing my bballing friends’ updates and tweets about that moment, i could not let it slip away. So thanks to @marcomanipon on twitter who led me to the link on NBA.com for the full speech.

As i watched it, i could not help but get emotional and teary eyed to see MJ get up on stage and the first thing he does is shed tears of joy and appreciation. I have always seen him as an extremely passionate man. So being emotional with his passions, failures, and successes is not a surprise to see.

It was great to just relieve the moment of his career in my mind as he thanked those who helped him achieve his success. But more than thanking his coaches and his teammates, what got me the most was the time he spent thanking his opponents and nemesis on and off the court that continued to fuel the flame, add “the wood to the fire” as he says too add to his continuously growing “competitive nature”.

That’s what i’ve always loved most about MJ, not the fancy moves, not the winnings shots, not the 6 rings. But the character of this man and his sheer handwork and optimism that made him the success that he is. He inspired me and millions others all over the world with how he achieved his success.

I only pray that the players and stars of today could have a similar mindset that its not all about he millions of dollars and the fancy moves and even the titles. but its about making a difference in people’s lives beyond basketball. I have always firmly believed that competitive sports builds character like no other, and seeing MJ personify this defines it it all the more for me.

As i share with you video of his full speech at HOF ceremonies i’d also like to share  with you his final words of that speech.

Thank you Michael for sharing your success and passion with all of us!

The game of basketball has been everything to me, my refuge, my place where i’ve always gone when i needed to find comfort and peace.

Its been a source of intense pain and a source of the most intense feelings of joy and satisfaction and one that no one can even imagine.

Its a relationship that has evolved over time and has given me the greatest respect and love for the game.

It has provided me with a platform to share my passion with millions in a way i neither expected nor could’ve imagined to happen in my career

I hope that its given the millions of people that i have touched the optimism and desire to achieve their goals through handwork, perseverance, and positive attitude.

Although im recognized with this tremendous honor of being in the basketball hall of fame. I don’t look at this moment as the defining end of my relationship with basketball. Its simple a continuation of something I started a long time ago. One day you might look up and see me playing the game at 50… oh don’t laugh. Never say never. Because limits like fears, are often just an illusion.”

Michael Jordan’s HOF acceptance speech

Sep
10

Now that the season is officially over for DLSU, it got me thinking again as to how this should not be how they fared this year.

Firstly, I honestly feel uneasy to see the best college coach so far in UAAP history get eliminated by NU and wrap up the season at 5-9. It’s just not a fitting “exit” considering rumors are strong that Coach Franz is retiring after this year and will run for congress. Then supposedly he will hand to reigns of the team to brother Dindo. I think most UAAP fans, aside from UST of course, would have loved to see DLSU make another miracle run and slug it out again in the Final Four against Ateneo. But as they say in basketball, bilog and bola. And that’s how the cookie crumbles. This is the first time since the final four format was used since 1994 that DLSU is missing out on the mayhem.

Now I look back at the season for DLSU and yes I will agree with many, its not entirely the fault of the coach, and he just really had limited material this year. I recall very clearly that at this year’s preseason presscon, Coach Franz himself was very honest to admit that this is his youngest team ever. But I doubt he predicted then it would get this difficult and this, well, ugly specially if you look beyond the Wins and Losses and look at the quality of games.

With the material they had this season, few can still argue that they could’ve and maybe should’ve gone a little further. But do you remember they lost key players between the end of last season and the start of this one? Lets look back who should’ve and could’ve been around.

1) Rico Mairhoffer – yes not too many remember that he still had one more year of eligibility. But because of the stilly rule of the UAAP that if you declare for the PBA draft (which happens during the UAAP season) of that year, you are deemed ineligible for the UAAP. Yes, even if you have yet to set foot on a PBA court during your last year in the UAAP. So its always a gamble, either you play out your last year and then sit and “rot” your “stock value”, yet “mature” with your skills in the PBL for a year and half before . This is in contrast with the NCAA ruling that a senior player can sign up for the PBA draft and still play out that (his) last season. Odd differences indeed… ok so going back to Rico, you know what he can do. You know they badly needed a veteran bigman this season, you know they needed and inside presence on D to block shots. Yes Andrdada had some moments albeit late in the season, and Bringas also had some big games. But the consistency of Rico was sorely missed specially with the joo-joo of Ferdinand and Co pretty much zapped to outer space too.

2) LA Revilla – it was sad news to hear a week before the season that the incoming 2nd year point guard would be missing at least the whole season due to a thyroid condition that made him drastically lose weight. We all saw what kind of spunk and leadership the rookie guard showed in DLSU’s awesome run last year that brought them all the way to the finals. The shallow PG rotation this year, and the infectivity of Malabes and arguably sub-par performance (based more on expectations too) of Atkins really showed how Revilla was sorely missed.

3) Marco Batricevic – this guy just cant seem to get lady luck on his side. For the 2nd straight season he seriously injures his knee and again missed the whole season. Marco has seen such limited minutes that we couldn’t even give him a nickname yet. We heard he has a solid outside shot and great basketball smarts. Oh and did I mention he is 6’5? Another bigman that could’ve really really helped out.

4) Jeric Teng – I know, I know, you must be saying “whaaattt???” but yes, little do people know that Jeric was pretty much all set to go to DLSU just like former Xavier High school teammate Gab Banal. I first saw him at the launch of the RP Youth squad in September of 2008. In fact, he was so much considered a lock for a spot in the final roster of then RP Youth Coach Franz that the PR group handling the team was heavily promoting him together with Banal, Marata, and other 2nd generation players. I even went to their championship game vs Chiang Kai Shek (hope I spelled that right) which then had Justin Chua. The Banal/Teng tandem clobbered them and went home with the crown. I was already incredibly impressed with this kid and Banal. But to my shock when the final line-up of the RP Youth squad was announced, Teng was nowhere to be found. I asked around and heard reports that the Teng family had some sort of falling out with Coach Franz. (I never tried to get my nose into it since then and details are still hazy) Which then eventually led to him pulling out of the DLSU team too and ending up in UST now. So there, can you imagine a DLSU attack with Teng and Webb at the wings? Awesome. And it should’ve happened.

5) Norbert Torres – yes he is there and due to get his stuff going in Season 73. But reason why I add him on this list is due to another silly UAAP rule. That one that is discriminatory on players just coz they graduate from outer space, este from out of the Philippines. That rule says foreign grads must sit out 2 years coz of their presumed awesomeness. Yeah right. Not to say that the 6’7 Torres is not. He has shown his stuff with the RP Youth squad, won MVP in fact in the SEABA averaging 11pts, 6 rebs, and 1.25 blocks. And we could presume he is quite comfy now in Coach Franz’s system. Torres is yet another bigman whom DLSU should have by now, if not for another UAAP silly rule.

So can you imagine these 5 guys added to DLSU this year? Surely Coach Franz may have to take out some rookies to make room. But I wouldn’t be surprised if the great play and potential of these guys could even dislodge some under achieving veterans they have had this year. Given this “shoulda-woulda-coulda” line-up, I’d say they’d be a shoe-in for the Final Four and possibly even be at #3 or as high as #2.

Next year DLSU is said to be strong for sure. Torres is more than ready, Bringas would finally be 100% healthy and one year matured. And if you wanna speak of young rookies maturing, I cant wait to see Marata, Andrada, Tolentino, and Banal next year. And of course an ever aggressive and intense Joshua Webb to lead them too.

So I wish the Archers the best of luck in the off season. No matter what happens with regards to Coach Franz’s decisions on his personal and political career, for sure the heartaches and lessons learned will make the team work harder and be more motivated to go for an awesome Season 73, which by the way will be the year they host the UAAP again.

Sep
02

Not too long ago I wrote a piece in my Abante column that got me in some first time major hot water. See it wrote about this private individual (note: not a government official) and how his mis-doings in a private association were to say “manipulative”. I cited a highly credible source whom had first hand info that this person in fact admitted to his mis-deeds.

The next week I get the shock of my life, it was a demand letter from that man’s lawyer threatening me with libel if I did not make a retraction and a public apology in my column. I consulted the publication’s lawyers and a personal lawyer. I was so frustrated coz what I knew I was damn sure it was 100% true. But to my surprise, the law says that was not enough. The catch? That dude who did the mis-deeds was indeed a “private individual” and his actions in a private association. The only time the law allows you only site only a source and not even have a shred of evidence is when you are accusing a public official of something like corruption because his actions are of public interest and he is publicly accountable. Add to that, I damaged the reputation or defamed him with what I claimed he did. So since I had no evidence mentioned, nor did my highly placed source have any shred of evidence aside from a story from a trusted insider, I was screwed. Both lawyers advised me to retract and apologize. And so I did. I learned the law the hard way. Lucky for me, the guy was simply happy with an apology and retraction and he did not opt to file a suit.

To put things in perspective here, I do not know Rey very well. Now that I saw his name and looked up his picture on twitter, I realized yes I do know the guy. I have been with him in several sports coverages. In fact I just saw him today at Manny Pacquiao’s presscon and I even went up to him and Abac Cordero of Philstar and I kidded to them that Japeth was there as he changed his mind and opted to be a boxer instead.  Clearly I have nothing against him and in person he seems to be a very likeable guy. So to make things crystal clear, this is nothing personal, just a major déjàvu of what happened to me, just might happen to him. Here’s why I see it that way.

(In case you have not read Rey Joble’s piece today from the Manila Standard Today, click here – http://bit.ly/3jcy1u)

So how does my experience compare to Rey Joble’s piece on Japeth? One, he has no evidence aside from citing a highly placed source. Two, he didn’t even mention if his source has a shred of physical evidence or any document to corroborate it. Three, Japeth, his father, and agent are private individuals and not public officials, what they do is not of public interest and are not accountable to the public. Four, accusing people of sheer and utter greed is in the eyes of many defaming too.

I want to make it clear too that i do not even intend to argue whether what he said was true or not, heck his source may be spot on. And if it is, it may change the general views I have on this situation altogether… But point is, you just cant do that to private individuals without any evidence or basis. Coz I now get what the law means, at the end of the day, some people will say “so what?” because it is not of general public interest unlike a government official. But the danger is, a good number of people may say “P.I. kaya pala, what a greedy bastard”. Game over, reputation defamed and down the drain. Sadly, i have seen this happening on twitter already. Some people just take these things as biblical truth.

So I need not be a lawyer to voice this opinion of mine and my analysis of this, but seeing the exact dynamics yet in slightly different circumstances, I see this piece as the same as mine, ready for a libel suit.  But again, i ain’t no lawyer, so lets see how this is interpreted. The difference is, will the accused people in this case be as forgiving as the one I hurt?

Sep
02

So the basketball world has been rocked once again with the controversy involving Japeth Aguilar and his “change of heart” leaving Burger King and the PBA in the air with his desire to move to play fulltime with the Smart Gilas developmental team. He says he simply wants to play for the country. He admits he may have “erred” in opting to go on with the PBA draft as it was then his “dream” to play in the PBA and interestingly, it was deemed a requirement for him to join the PBA backed Powerade Team Pilipinas.

There have been various scenarios raised and threats thrown. From a lifetime ban, to a full-on suit. He has been accused that it’s all about the money and that his 2 main advisers his father Peter and columnist Ronnie Natahnielsz have given him bad and selfish advice.

Initially most people could just not swallow the “I want to be patriotic and simply play for my country bit”. I understand that its tough to buy that as the reason to bolt from the pros. But there’s got to be something more than just that. Is it then the money?

Without knowing the facts yet of what he stands to make with Gilas, the “more money” issue is hard to prove for now. Nathanielsz insists that Gilas has not made any such offer, same with Noli Eala of the SBP. But I am inclined to agree with most that it does involve a lot of money and that it’s damn close or possibly even a bit more than the rookie PBA max. Why would anyone leave for less money than the current offer right? So its a given that the money is a consideration and it seems it is significant enough either way he goes. But for argument’s sake, would that difference (if ever there is a significant difference) be the sole compelling reason to bolt from BK and the 35 year old pro league and risk all this wrath?

In my honest opinion, I don’t think so. Not unless you see Japeth, his Dad Peter, and agent Nathanielsz that much of “mukhang pera”. That’s your call and your opinion. From the little that I know of the kid, he is very humble and soft spoken. As for Nathanielsz, yes he has a colorful past in the eyes of many, but with regards to “advising basketball players” which to my knowledge he rarely rarely does, maybe best to ask Benjie Paras. Coz from what I know he was the last and only other PBA player that Nathanielsz actively advised and represented. And we all know how his career turned out and what kind of a man he grew up to be from being a hotshot rookie from UP. To add to this, to those who think Nathanielsz and Eala of SBP are in cahoots, I think you need to do more research and you’ll figure out its not a rosey picture between them to begin with. Here’s one example – http://bit.ly/La9jE

To all you Japeth haters who want his head, want him banned for life, that’s your opinion and I respect that, but let’s see you make an effort to not cheer him on when he gives his all for his country this time next year.

Take this into consideration, all athletes who play in the RP team play with heart and soul, and throw out their guts on the court. They play HARD, risking injury every single second playing for flag and country. Unlike a significant percentage of the pros who (yes may make as much now as Gilas players but…) play “pa-peteks-peteks” lang until they get their contract extensions.

So his values and integrity is also being put in question. Fine he is young. Fine his dad is jobless and is desperate to find the best path for his son to secure the family’s future. But what about the team that he is leaving who is crying foul? Who here is a true diehard Burger King fan? I know of Burger King diehards coz of their food and free wifi, but how many times have they been involved in an a wild lopsided trade that, although it is very hard to prove, they have been accused of “selling their players”. I am not categorically accusing them of anything but it’s just too many lopsided trades that were too good to true.

Just recently they again defied logic by sending away franchise player Arwind Santos in exchange for who? For what? Samigue Eman, Ken Bono, and an ageing  Chris Calaguio? All bench riders. You’ve got to be kidding me. So said firequinito (http://firequinito.com/archives/110-Burger-King-trades-Arwind-Santos-to-San-Miguel-for-a-plate-of-roasted-highland-legumes.html) too in his blog but fq goes all out to call a spade a spade.

Given that, who knows how long Japeth would stay with BK considering how many potential “franchise players” they have virtually “given away” in inexplicable lopsided trades? I even heard a wild rumor he would’ve only stayed for ONE CONFERENCE. How wild is that?

Now with regards to the legal aspect, obviously I’m not a lawyer but here’s my understanding on it, lawyers out there, correct me if I am wrong please. We have to realize it’s still a CONTRACT OFFER. Take those 2 words. First CONTRACT, one major component of which is the meeting of two minds and agreeing on all grounds among them money, length, and terms. Second OFFER, since it is a contract which needs a meeting of minds, it is still an offer. Meaning the other party had to agree then sign. So TEAM has to offer PLAYER. What is the offer for then if it’s presumed the player is in since he joined the draft?  Hence not fair to presume draftee will always sign a max offer just coz he entered the draft. Or else the system may as well just do away with a contract offer if a team gives max anyways, is that right?

So let’s go back to Japeth, given that it is bad timing and yes his ethics and “man of his word” is majorly in question. I agree with most who feel this way, but as a longtime fan of his potential, forgive me but I can’t help but to look ahead.

For example he stayed with BK and Coach Yeng for 2 years compared to spending 2 years with Coach Rajko Toroman plus the constant international exposure, where do you think he’d flourish, grow, and spread his wings more? I have the utmost respect for Coach Yeng. He is a damn good coach who’s strengths are his motivational skills (which is tough to do with pros) and being a strategist. But when it comes to honing players skills and developing young talents, I’d give the edge to Coach Rajko (specially now that Coach Yeng no longer has skills specialist Kirk Collier on his staff) considering what he’s done with Iran. And maybe we need not look too far to the middle easy, look at the jaw-dropping development of college players Barroca, Ramos, Ababou, Jazul, and Guevarra in less than a year.

And then there was the promise of Mr Lito Alvarez that he would even allow Japeth to play with Smart Gilas when needed. I really wonder if he thought this part of the offer through considering 1) Gilas will be playing as a guest team in the PBA this coming All-Filipino Conference, 2) it would be so tough for a maturing player to learn from two different styles, that of Coach Yeng and Coach Rajko, and 3) Gilas will be traveling a lot in its effort to get constant international exposure. Is it feasible to have him play and train for BK and Gilas at the same time?

I can’t help but recall I was in similar shoes. When I left GMA7 for ABS-CBN in 2004. I was in major heat. Accused of jumping ship solely for the money. I didn’t break rules, laws nor violate any contract provision, in fact I was too honest it seems. But loyalty and delikadeza was in question. But I realized I could grow and spread my wings elsewhere where I had more opportunities. It was an awkward and ugly separation at that time. But time heals all wounds, and it did. And without a doubt it has turned out better for me. I may not be a superstar but I found my niche and my “place in the sun”

To wrap it up, the analogy of a RUNAWAY BRIDE comes to mind. Don’t mind who is which gender, but point is Japeth was “engaged” with BK, but when he learned more about what life would be like with his fiancé and how he would progress in the next few years, he knew he had to take the bitter pill and pull the plug, no matter how ugly it was going to be with the loyal family of his fiancé. It always looks bad to leave someone at the alter, but in the future you’ll say “wow, he had guts, and foresight”. But as the song goes, he may just have made the right choice, but at the wrong time.

Japeth has made it clear he is sorry for the mess and is willing to face any and all consequences. For now, my fervent wish is for people to accept that the PBA will do what they can with the current rules they have, and lets wish Japeth well as he embarks on his new mission.

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